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  1. #11
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    My students used to hate them, they wanted to turn their back to them O_O I taught with and without mirrors. They would try at home though. For myself, I prefer video because you can also see oneself when turned back, or doing fast spins. And it's different since you can rewind :P

  2. #12
    Member Janene Aliza's Avatar
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    The reflection of oneself and others in the mirror could give the illusion of having an audience -- this could be a good thing for those who wish to eventually perform but are not used to seeing people's faces looking back at them!!!

  3. #13
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    A mirror is just a tool and like any tool one has to learn to impliment it correctly and become comfortable with it before it is of any real use. Practice makes perfect even in using mirrors.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #14
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    I recently dug out my video tutorials and started to practice after sooo long away and there wished I had the mirror I planned for, an 6 x 4 mirror for my wall made out of acrylic, the same stuff used in gyms but way too expensive at the mo, £68 delivered, but I found practising the movement I didn't need the mirror and that because it felt right the muscle memory was still there. So I wonder, my next class venue is mirror-less but the muscle memory is there, so do I actually need mirrors ?

    But in truth I used to find in a mirrored environment, that reflective wall used to annoy my brain as it does in shopping malls to the point I can not stay in a mirrored shop for long and when asked to practice in front of the mirror I used to remember getting confused by the reflected reverse image, dyspraxic is the medical term, which translates as left\right, up\down does not come naturally to me, I have to consciously think about it a moment which plays merry hell when I drive to directions, but with mirrors I find I will use the wrong limb, wrong side of the body to augment a movement as a reflected image does not work well with me.

    So I am wondering, I used to rely on teacher input and it is through this that my muscles learned the movement and remembered it, so maybe that is it. Now I am aware I have the basic dance vocabulary and understand how it feels, so I wonder if a mirror-less environment will better for me, no annoying mirrors which used to make me defocus my eyes when I was in view of one as I get easily distracted by details and then I am off in my own world and missing everything else. Part of the mirror thing I am aware is I did not like seeing myself, but that goes for mirrors not connected with dance anyway, it is me and has always been so.

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khanjar View Post
    Now I am aware I have the basic dance vocabulary and understand how it feels, so I wonder if a mirror-less environment will better for me, no annoying mirrors which used to make me defocus my eyes when I was in view of one as I get easily distracted by details and then I am off in my own world and missing everything else. Part of the mirror thing I am aware is I did not like seeing myself, but that goes for mirrors not connected with dance anyway, it is me and has always been so.
    You may not need a mirror for basic dance vocab - but what about when you add something new. I remember learning a new choreo with a lean back in it. This is something I'd never done before so I did not know how to create it without feedback. I needed the mirror to ensure my line was straight - without belly sticking up or butt sagging. And with something like this it is hard with just a person adjusting you - because people tend to move more than just the bit that needs corecting. I often see this with beginner posture. I move the upper torso forward and they move their pelvis as well.

  6. #16
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khanjar View Post
    But in truth I used to find in a mirrored environment, that reflective wall used to annoy my brain as it does in shopping malls to the point I can not stay in a mirrored shop for long and when asked to practice in front of the mirror I used to remember getting confused by the reflected reverse image, dyspraxic is the medical term, which translates as left\right, up\down does not come naturally to me, I have to consciously think about it a moment which plays merry hell when I drive to directions, but with mirrors I find I will use the wrong limb, wrong side of the body to augment a movement as a reflected image does not work well with me.
    I've had a few students with similar issues. There are two solutions I use depending on the situation. If it's obvious that the mirror is causing a feedback issue, turn around so the mirror isn't distracting you. If it's a left/right displacement issue, I've gotten around that one by not using 'left' and 'right' in class, but saying 'one side' and 'the other side'. I honestly don't care which side you practice with so long as you're drilling the move correctly.

    As for choreo, well I try to design mine so that you can do what works naturally for you, so my instruction is follow your feet & do the move right. That ends up being more versatile in hafla situations where stage setup changes depending on venue, which is what the majority of students experience anyway.

    As Kashmir said, mirrors are an important tool in terms of alignment. Use them to make sure you have your lines & posture right and once you have that set into muscle memory, you can turn away from the mirror & drill to your heart's content.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    I just hate mirrors. I used to do tap-dancing in a room with mirrors and spent all my time looking at the floor in-order to avoid looking at myself. My posture and dancing sure improved without them.

    My early bellydance teachers never used them, but the troupe I dance with practise in a room with mirrors on one wall. In the recent colder weather we've been practising in a smaller non-mirrored room, which is quicker to heat up then the larger hall.

    We've found we've learnt a new choreography much quicker without the mirrors. We can't rely on looking at the reflection of the person behind us to follow, so we've actually taken responsibility for our own movements!

    We also need to practise without mirrors inorder to get our spatial awareness better atuned - we need to be able to move across each other, form floor patterns, or line-up for the final bow without being able to see everything going on behind us.

    When I practise my own choreography at home, I tend to be guided by my shadows - not my reflection. I take it that its the shapes and lines that the audiences see, the rest is just surface candy. But I'm not sure if I completely believe that anymore though, and sometimes the surface candy is all they appreciate.

    When there are mirrors they just distract too much from what I'm meant to be doing - too busy looking at myself (for good or ill) and not thinking about the dancing. Among my line-dancing friends we've got a phrase - poser-dancer; someone whose been looking in the mirror and practising - too much of the 'look at me' and not enough of the 'connect with me' attitude.

    Most of my problem with mirrors comes from past low self-esteem, which has improved since I started performing. You can't hide from the audience; you also need to give the best of yourself, which a mirror certainly helps with. But I'm not professional, so I can still kid myself that I don't need them.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Sophia Maria's Avatar
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    When I'm teaching something (bellydance or not bellydance) I need the mirror. If I face my dancers to see what they're doing, I'm usually pretty good at reversing my own directions--that way I can sort of be their mirror, you know what I mean? But even still, I like being able to do the correct directions, facing forward, while being able to see the other dancers in the mirror and correct them or interact with them.

    When I am in my bellydance teacher's class, I very much appreciate having the mirror the learn new moves and combos. I would be very uncomfortable without a mirror. However, I find that if I'm flailing with a move...if I take it home and just try to do it to random music without any reflection, I find I can conquer hard moves.

    I say it's half good and half bad. I always use them if I'm just drilling technique. But if I drill too much, my creativity and performing skills kind a wither and die. I always spend some quality time with my iPod on shuffle, my body ready to improvise, and no mirrors to be seen

  9. #19
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    In the gym where I would take group classes, there was no mirror, but the front of the room had shiny doors where you could kind of make out your silhouette. Then when I would do my private lessons somewhere else, we would use a mirror. I think "best of both worlds" approach is best, because if you are primarily focused on the mirror, you can get distracted and won't be getting what you need from the instructor, but on the other hand, I think a mirror is necessary because often what we *feel* we are doing correctly actually *looks* completely different. Also good for checking on posture, etc.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    Now, though mirrors I do not get on with and that because as as well as being challenged with directions, my mind is very detail orientated, I actually get lost in details and like I said, I wander off into another world, distracted but as RahimaMJR said above floor reflections help, that is no detail and perhaps the very reason why in class when being tutored I defocus my eyes so I can concentrate on the movement and not the detail.

    But is this a dance to look right or feel right ?

    But I also suspect a lot of my antipathy towards mirrors stems from what Duvet said ;

    Most of my problem with mirrors comes from past low self-esteem, which has improved since I started performing.

    ...and could that indeed be what drives me, the latter part of the above sentence.

    And with that I wonder how many who do this dance did come to it with low self esteem issues, I think another thread brewing here.
    Last edited by khanjar; 03-12-2012 at 12:22 PM.

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